Mastering the art of etiquette and manners for any modern dinner party is far simpler than you might think. It only requires a few simple things that you need to know. So don't get worked up or fooled into thinking that it's some sort of hi-brow complex set of rules and regulations, It's not!
In a nut shell etiquette just comes down to good manners and consideration for other people. Today's dinner parties are all about behaving in a responsible yet relaxed way, showing respect for other people and their opinions and not being offensive. It's mostly just common sense really. Good manners and politeness are the modern etiquette and they go a long way at any dinner party.
Here are a few of the main do's and don'ts. Drinking and eating way too much or to excess is probably the number one thing not to do. It's very rude and disrespectful to your host and other guests.
If you do drink too much, you will more than likely do and say inappropriate things and embarrass eveyone including yourself.
This is a sure fire way to ensure that you are never asked to another dinner party ever again! So be very careful not to overdo it!
Don't just help yourself to the wine if your glass has been empty for a while and your host hasn't noticed it.
Just politely ask, by saying something like "that wine's lovely, would you mind if I had a drop more" or "would you mind very much if I was a bit cheeky and help myself to a little more of the wine please", you get the idea!
If you do ask to be topped up, do it with politeness.
One last thing on drinks. if you knock one over or spill something, report it to your host straight away and with an apology.
Don't be churlish and complain or reject what is in your opinion inferior wine or food that's not quite to your taste.
After all your host has gone to a lot of time and trouble for you. The least you can do is show that you appreciate all of their effort and hard work.
To smoke, or not to smoke? That is the question! This is a difficult one when it comes to etiquette and manners, because social conventions have changed quite a lot over the years with regards to what is and what isn't acceptable behaviour when it comes to smoking.
I personally would suggest that you don't ask "is it's o.k. to smoke?". Or horror of horrors, just light up at the table.
That would be a very rude thing to do indeed. I have actually experienced someone just lighting up, seemingly oblivious to everyone else, who all felt quite insulted by it.
If you absolutely must have a smoke, excuse yourself by saying that you are "just popping outside for a quick cigarette" and be as quick as you can.
If someone else decides to join you don't be tempted to linger and hold your own private smoking party, it's not very polite to ignore your host and other guests with your absence.
If everyone at the dinner party is a smoker and is well known to you then that's a different story. But as a rule of thumb try not to smoke at all if possible.
A note on children. If the dinner party, or any other function for that matter you are attending is one where you have taken your children along, it's very important that you make sure that you keep a strict eye on them and what they are doing at all times.
This is partly for their own safety, but also it's your responsibilty to ensure they behave themselves.
That is to say that they are not damaging property or causing mayhem. Whether you like it or not, the way you control your children's behaviour will reflect directly on how other people perceive you. After all your host and other guests are not there to be a nanny or to babysit your children.
Dress Code: Simply dress in a suitable and appropriate manner that reflects the type of dinner party you are going to attend. If you are not sure what that is don't be afraid to ask your host beforehand.
It's far better to ask and fit in, than it is to show up in your best tux or cocktail dress only to find everyone else in casual dress or vice versa.
If you have received a formal R.S.V.P. written invitation it will more than likely indicate what type of dress code is required. If in doubt, just ask! So there you have it, etiquette, manners and dress code - Simples!